Every business should ensure its websites are accessible and usable to everyone who uses them.  It is common for businesses and web developers to ensure their websites work well for most users and forget that they should also be usable for those with visual impairments and other disabilities that necessitate the need for navigational tools to visit and use websites.

While accessibility is often the purview of web designers and developers, there is some overlap with SEO, which is something many SEO professionals do not think about.

What is Website Accessibility?

Accessibility is ensuring your website is usable and accessible to everyone who visits a website, regardless of how they interact with it. Proper accessibility ensures visitors can navigate, understand, perceive, and interact with a website. It also ensures that visitors with different disabilities do not get a degraded experience or have difficulty using a website.

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In addition, it also ensures users with temporary disabilities, like those recovering from surgery or who have temporary injuries, can continue using a website as they otherwise would.

Accessibility and User Experience

Google and other search engines do not have a ranking metric for accessibility as far as we know. However, Google has made it clear it considers user experience when ranking websites, making it crucial for your SEO efforts.

When a website is inaccessible, it provides a degraded user experience to visitors, especially those who need it to be accessible the most. We can use several metrics to see when this is happening. Some essential metrics that can show this include bounce rates, time spent on a website, and the number of pages a user has visited.

If a user visits only one or two pages and stays for a few seconds, that could indicate they did not have the best experience on the website. Developers and businesses also need to consider users who spend a lot of time on a page without doing anything, trying different options, or accomplishing anything.

This is especially true for pages with little content where it makes no sense for a visitor to spend a lot more time than is required to read the content, navigate to a different page, or provide details for lead generation.

While many factors could lead to this, businesses and developers must consider a poor user experience as one of the reasons this could be happening.

Website Speed as an Accessibility Issue

Many developers and businesses do not consider load speeds and accessibility issues, but they can be. Here are some reasons why:

Long wait times, especially for users with slow internet connections or older devices, can lead to frustration or make the necessary information inaccessible to these users.


Slow loading times can increase the cognitive load on users, especially those with cognitive disabilities or attention issues. Also, the constant waiting can make it harder to focus on the content or to navigate the website. Both can lead to a poor user experience.

Some accessibility features, like screen readers or text-to-speech tools, may rely on the website loading fully to function properly. Slow loading times can hinder their effectiveness.

Users may have difficulty navigating through it if a website takes too long to load each page. This can be especially challenging for users who rely on assistive technologies for navigation.

There are many ways businesses can solve slow load times, starting with switching to a faster web host that uses modern features like edge computing and CDNs. Providers like Gcore have optimized their servers and services to ensure the fastest loading speeds, eliminating speed as a ranking and accessibility challenge.

Developers and businesses can also utilize other optimization techniques, including image optimization, reducing the number of requests, and prioritizing above-the-fold content to provide a better user experience.

Overlap of SEO and Accessibility

We have looked at two common SEO issues that tie into accessibility. In this section, we will explore even more of these issues so you can decide if they are a problem on your website.

Page Titles

Titles provide crucial content that helps users understand what a website or webpage is about. Crucially for accessibility, they help users know which pages they are on. Screen readers rely heavily on titles for the latter functionality, making them crucial when a user has several tabs or windows open.

You should optimize your titles for humans and not search engine bots. When you do, you achieve better SEO and eliminate the accessibility issues that can be associated with them.


The main function of headings in SEO is to provide an overview of the content on the page or that comes after them. H2 to H6 tags are also essential for defining a page’s structure.

Just like search engine crawlers, assistive tools, and technologies use headings to navigate pages, move to specific sections, or understand their structure.

To help with accessibility:

  • Use only one H1 title for all your pages
  • Ensure all titles are relevant to the content that follows them
  • Only use titles if there is additional content below them

These are also great SEO practices that you should have already implemented.

Optimize Your Alt Tags

One of the most discussed aspects of SEO and accessibility is image alt tags. While these provide crucial information to SEO crawlers, they also give users with visual impairments and those using assistive technologies crucial textual alternatives.

Instead of optimizing your images for bots by stuffing your alt tags with keywords, something Google has started to crack down on, you should provide helpful, accurate, and relevant text. Screen readers will read them out a lot, which means they should make sense.

Secondly, they will be much easier for users to find if they are looking for something specific.

The good news is that you do not have to create the alt text yourself because you can use any of the numerous tools that use computer vision to create them.

Many people do not think accessibility and SEO are linked, but they are in more ways than they imagine. Optimizing for accessibility can lead to better SEO, and the opposite is often the case, too. Follow best practices for both, and you should have a website friendly for all users and search engine bots.

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